AWS Startups Blog

Sansan Co-Founder Kenji Shiomi on Why Business Cards Are Still Necessary

With the prevalence of address books apps and social media sites like LinkedIn, are business cards still necessary in 2018? According to Kenji Shiomi, General Manager at Tokyo-based Sansan, Inc., the answer is very much so.

“I used to think we could get rid of business cards altogether,” he says. “If as a society, we could exchange our information digitally, we’d save on both cost and time. But then the question became, ‘Who’s going to do it?'”

The fact of the matter is, he notes, exchanging business cards is still an important part of corporate culture—especially in Japan—and it’s a ritual that’s not going away anytime soon. That’s why in 2007, Shiomi co-founded Sansan, a company that focuses on providing an alternative contact management solution that uses business cards as its building blocks. Sansan offers both B2B and B2C products and counts over 7,000 corporations as its customers, including the Japanese government.

This idea to share business cards existed, of course, before Sansan, says Shiomi. “However, none of them satisfied these three key points: Being easy, fast, and accurate,” he says. One of Sansan’s key differentiators, he adds, is that they are 100% accurate. “This business is based on the idea that the [last] one percent matters,” he says. Let’s say you need the cards you’ve collected for marketing purposes. Just one missed letter means the emails will never reach the intended recipients. One wrong number means you won’t reach them by phone. If the cards are to be considered a business asset, then accuracy becomes an important factor.”

Learn more about Sansan in the above video.

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung

Michelle Kung currently works in startup content at AWS and was previously the head of content at Index Ventures. Prior to joining the corporate world, Michelle was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal, the founding Business Editor at the Huffington Post, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, a columnist for Publisher’s Weekly and a writer at Entertainment Weekly.